Working with Medical Insurance

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

I have two Questions:
(1) Would it be permissible to work as a Medical Billing/Insurance Specialist? I am interested in getting into a program to become this. I would be working at a doctor’s office and handling the patients’ insurance information, talking to med. insurance companies about insurance claims, etc…

(2) Is it permissible to have medical insurance? If not, what should we do? If Working in this field is not permissible, I would also be interested in being and accountant and handling companies’ bills and finances. Would this be permissible?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Firstly, the permissibility or otherwise of an insurance policy depends on the
terms and insurance policy scheme. But leaving aside mutual insurance
schemes, all the insurance policies available with the traditional insurance
companies run on commercial basis have an element of interest (riba) or
chancing (qimar) or both, hence, not allowed. [This has been explained in several answers on the Hanafi Fiqh forum, see: (]

Therefore, all forms of insurance including medical insurance will be unlawful.

As far as the alternative is concerned, Islamic financial institutions offer a viable and Islamically-accepted alternative, which is takaful, a form of cooperative insurance. Details of this are available through such institutions.

Secondly, to directly assist another towards involvement in the sin of riba is also unlawful and sinful.

Allah Almighty says:

“Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancour” (Surah al-Ma’idah, 2).

Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) has cursed the one who accepted usury, the one who paid it, the witness to it, and the one who recorded it. (Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 22, Number 3327).

In light of the above and many other Hadiths, scholars have ruled that it would be unlawful for a Muslim to accept employment in a bank or any such institution whose dealings are primarily centered on interest-based transactions, such as an insurance company.

Regarding the work of an accountant, it should be understood that the meaning of “one who records it (interest)” in the aforementioned Hadith is the one who actually writes an agreement of interest or prepares the document to evidence the transaction.

It does not include a person who was not involved in the transaction of Riba itself in any way, but while preparing the accounts of a business came across a Riba transaction, and records it as an event that already took place without his involvement.

The great Hadith expert (hafidh) Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani (Allah have mercy on him) States:

“This (the curse of Allah in the Hadith) is applicable only to a person who has supported the relevant person in the transaction of Riba and agreed to it…… The reference in the Hadith is only to a person who has helped the relevant party in the transaction of Riba by writing its agreement or being a witness to it (Fath al-Bari, 4/314).

It would therefore be generally permitted to work as an accountant. However, as a matter of precaution a Muslim should also avoid this type of recording, but it does not fall in the category of clear prohibition (Contemporary Fatawa, 161). [See related answers at (]

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, UK

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